HELP! I Live With A Stranger In My House! How To Differentiate Personality Disorders (PD) From Cognitive Decline (CD)

My former gynecologist shared with me a year ago what she observes of the dramatic impact on first-care people who live with a partner who suffer from cognitive loss. She pled that I write something about it. Specialized in the field of personality disorders I was not aware of how prevalent cognitive decline was and its devastating effects on the sufferer and the ones they affect. I have since realized the magnitude of this scourge, often ignored and trivialized by the “system.” A plague that is an hour away from affecting negatively those who live (most often women) with this reality behind the doors.

During the transition period (before something dramatic alerts the system) women are left on their own to make sense, deal with and often conceal the nightmare to protect the integrity of their loved ones. They know deep down the man they married is no longer “there” or is too much “there” in their face (personality traits amplified). The personality traits they could control before they can’t anymore. Those traits can and have also been exacerbated by changes: loss of a loved one, COVID, retirement, isolation. They manifest as:

  • Being aggressive, impatient, intolerant
  • They blame their discomfort on you (your lack of collaboration – you do not understand)
  • Stubborn
  • Over controlling
  • Resistant to change
  • Retribute when the partner does not do things the way they want or disagree, or give them negative feedback. “You don’t want to do it my way, here’s to you. Mind yourself.”
  • Lack of flexibility – rigidity
  • Lack or error of judgment: risk provoking for them and their partner
  • Can’t acknowledge the current reality for what it is. Live in their own world. Approach the current reality from their habits of the past.
  • Can’t see the impact of their immediate actions or decision on the future (finance, living, etc.).
  • Isolate – close down or avoid
  • Fence
  • Use reasoning to explain what they do wrong or strange
  • Break a lot of things – can’t repair or fix what they used to do easily before.

In both cases whether we are talking of personality disorder or cognitive decline (a beginning of dementia), as people are still able to function in society, the victims can’t find any consolation or understanding or even support from the system. Over time many of the victims isolate themselves (no more social activities or relationships), break down in anxiety or depression (are medicated) or turn seriously sick (cancer, auto-immune disease, digestive problems) or die… with “honours”. What for a fate. Something needs to change with the system.  We deserve better.

Many of these traits can easily be related to personality disorders. It is very easy to be misled. I’m a specialist on the subject and I can still be confused at times about what is causing what.

What PD and CD personalities have in common:

  • They don’t know they have a problem, therefore:
  • They explain their discomfort through you you become the target of blame.
  • They do not want to be diagnosed or treated since you are the problem.

You are forced into covering or compensating for whatever problem your partner gets you or him in to avoid greater consequences.

As you are aware that you need to take your life in charge whether you stay or leave, you may want to consider the following options:

  • See a psychologist to help you deal with this new reality.
  • Minimize the altercations or interventions. Talk is trouble. Take things in your hands.
  • Develop a strong network of friends that can support you and understand the problem is not with you.
  • Turn to a good health therapist to sustain and protect your health.
  • Work with a financial advisor on how to manage your finance.
  • Look for a better place to live (downsize or relocate near facilities, before it’s too late)
  • Consult with your doctor for confirmation.
  • Consult with a PSYCH-K® facilitator to free yourself from limiting beliefs that paralyze your efforts and keep you vulnerable.

It’s tempting to abandon and isolate yourself. PLEASE DO NOT! There is a way to roll with the punch. Seek support. Your first responsibility is to yourself. You are worthy!


Jocelyne Durand

Founder of the Durand Consciousness 360 Method©

Director of Consciousness360





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Jocelyne Durand

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